Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
According to the National Education Association, parents must be actively involved if a child is to experience success in school. Indeed, there have been multiple studies to support that claim.
But Horace Mann School Counselor Jill Rogers didn't need a study to know that the children she has worked with throughout her career in education do better when adults and parents from the community become involved.
That is why she brought "Breakfast Buddies" with her from her time at Perryton Public Schools in Texas.
The program enlists parents and other adults from the community once a week in a one hour interactive reading and breakfast time with a class, Rogers said.
Each parent or community member arrives at the school at around 7:30 a.m. and spends about an hour enjoying breakfast and reading to the class. The readers typically read about one chapter of a book to the class and then have some free time to play board games or just visit with students, Rogers said.
At present, the books of choice are "Junie B. Jones" books by Barbara Park for second graders, and "Hank The Cow Dog" by John R. Erickson for third and fourth graders.
Parents are also invited to attend. In fact, Rogers encourages parents to attend because there is a clear connection of a parent's involvement and how a child performs in school and other areas of their lives, she said.
"I have 14 classes here and we have, this semester, managed to get them all done once," she said. "So this next semester, we will just start over."
Rogers said she is humbled and sometimes overwhelmed when she sees the interaction between those who come and interact with students who really are interested in adults.
"When Bruce Benbrook from the bank came, he saw one of the little boys sitting by himself at breakfast and just went and sat with him and talked with him," she said. "It just means a lot to the children."
At the end of the hour, there is a drawing where a child from the class wins the book that was read to the class, Rogers said.
While the program has increased in its popularity, Rogers said the job of getting people to come and read is always a challenge, she said.
"I just really want to encourage those who can to come and be a part of the program and be readers," she said.
For information about the program and to volunteer as a reader, please contact Jill Rogers at Horace Mann Elementary School, 580-256-2660